tonight on "nightline," behind the lines. right now, a battle is raging to topple another dictator in the middle east. this time, syria. in the ancient city of aleppo. our team travels inside a country where now, even the children are forced to take sides. big family in the big apple. mom, dad and their 19 biological kids are packing their bags for a trip from rural tennessee to the flashy streets of new york city. but can an ultraconservative mega-sized family make it in the urban jungle? and pinheads. who's got more metal than anyone else at the games? surprisingly, it's this guy. inside the secret world of wheeling and dealing in olympic pins.
>> announcer: from the global resours of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and juju chang in new york city and bill weir in london, this is "nightline," august 8th, 2012. >> good evening, i'm juju chang. tonight, it is an uprising that started in the hopeful days of the arab spring last year, when tyrants from egypt to libya were being overthrown. but the tight in syria has dragged on and on and spiraled into a brutal civil war. but now, it may be reaching a tipping point. abc's alex marquardt traveled behind rebel lines to bring us this dramatic report from just outside aleppo, syria. >> reporter: it's the most decisive battle of the 17-month long uprising. the fight for aleppo. victory by rebels here could mean the end of the 40-year
dictatorship of the family of president bashar al assad. the toll, brutal, for civilians and fighters on both sides. as the fighting intensifientens we're invited to join a group of young rebels in a safe house just 20 miles away. it's kind of a last supper. tonight, they're going to join the fight. are you afraid? "no, no, no," says ali. "we're only afraid of god." they are all defectors of the syrian army. the mood is light. they joke. mohamed tells us about his fiance. no sign they are nervous for the enemy waiting for them just down the road. then, it's time to gear up. they eagerly wait for their names to be called. weapons are handed out. ak-47s, robert-propelled grenades. we go back to the home where a local family is putting us up.
there, we immediate a young english teacher who says the government forces arrested him and for four days, he was tortured. >> they tell me -- day told me that they would let me die slowly. like a dog. or an animal, because i am not a human. >> reporter: he was repeatedly hit with the butts of rye faifl. simply, he says, because he lives in this town that is no longer controlled by assad forces. >> it is hard to describe it. >> reporter: it's stories like his what have fueled what is clearly a civil war. pitting syrian against syrian. so far, an estimated 20,000 people have been killed. but as in any conflict, the fog of war blurs lines. here in syria, it's not just a civil war. we drive out of town, looking for a church where we've been told we can find foreign islamic
militants. they've been streaming in from across the muslim world. their goal? to help take down president assad and create an islamic state. as we get close, we run right into two cars full of them, heavily arm and angry to see us. so, we hide our camera. well, that was interesting. we were stopped by a van full of what were clearly fundamentalist fighters. they stopped our car. they wanted to see our passports and i.d.s. clearly very unhappy to see us. it was quite interesting, they were speaking arabic with a non-syrian accent. we got out of there really fast. even more sinister, and this is what really makes the united states nervous, al qaeda has joined the fight, carrying out a wave of attacks and suicide bombings. and this is a place where things are often not as simple as they seem. what happened to your neck? we meet this 8-year-old boy. he tells us the slashes on his
throat come from assad shoulders who dragged him with a wire noose, trying to find out where his father was. it seems, given all we've seen and heard, a plausible story. but the next day, he breaks down in tears. he has a confession. he tells us he was told by his uncle to lie to us. his wounds, he says, come from an accident. his friends show us the weapons their little village has faced. why are you holding onto this? "for the media," he says. we quickly learn it's a very fine line between civilian and rebel soldier. the morning after our last supper with the rebel fighters, we meet the fondo brothers. one they haven't worked their jobs in awhile, because now, their job is to fight and win a revolution. "we're proud to fight together," he sails, "fighting beside your older brother gives you more courage to fight." his son and another brother are currently fighting to take
aleppo. aren't you worried that four broerls fighting together, you could all die and leave your children without any fathers, wives would any husbands? "how can we see all of this happening and not fight for our dignity and freedom" he says. "we don't care if we die." up on the roof of their home, this 7-year-old sings about battling the dictator. an act unthinkable just 18 months ago. but the war has changed everyone. when it started, they tell us, the little girl used to cry and hide in the bathroom as shells rained down on the town. now, she comes up to the roof to watch where they're falling. for "nightline," i'm alex marquardt in northern syria. >> powerful images. our thanks to alex marquardt for the reporting. just ahead for us, we'll be giving you an uplifting journey. what happens when one of
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"nightline" continues from new york city with juju chang. >> with enough kids to fill the lineup of not one, but two baseball teams, the super-sized bates family knows a thing or two about dealing with crowds. but wrangling 19 kids in the hills of tennessee is nothing like keeping themming to in the mayhem of times square. trust me, i was along for the ride. but when they hit the flashy streets of manhattan, they encountered something a little unexpected. >> i never seen so many people in my life. >> reporter: if you think being a tourist in new york city is intimidating --
>> buildings are huge. >> reporter: imagine doing it with 19 children in tow. >> i'll take the stroller right here. >> reporter: riding the subway is nerve wracking. >> everybody get ready to get off, okay? >> wow. >> that was a little nervous. i heard stories. this is a bumpy ride. the doors close quickly and so i can just picture in my mind somebody getting left behind. >> reporter: leave no man behind. and the menu can be sticker shocking. >> pig in a blanket. $12.95. must be a big blanket and a big pig. >> reporter: as ultra-conservative baptists, they are now the largest family in america. tied with the duggars, who also happen to be their good friends. the bates feel it is up to god to handle family planning. wife kelly gave birth to all 19 kids. ♪ as the world >> reporter: 23-year-old zach to
6-month-old jeb. at 45, kelly says she could easily have more. you now have 19. are there more kids down the pipe, so to speak? are we looking at more bates kids in the future? >> whatever the lord gives us, we'd be grateful. >> reporter: we've been following the bates for nearly two years, through courtship, two pregnancies and even one of several miscarriages. a few years ago, she began taking hormones. if you don't feel right taking birth control to stop a pregnancy, why is it okay to take medicine to help a pregnancy? >> well, for us, that would be like -- that baby is already alive. it is a life. >> reporter: the only way gil and kelly bates can afford to raise so many kids is by pinching pennies. while gil runs a modest tree-cutting business with the help of his older sons, kelly has home schooled all their kids.
>> we have some fun for today. >> reporter: which is why, for so many reasons, new york makes their head spin. >> wow! >> reporter: you have six hotel rooms but you are only using five. >> well, yeah, we could get by with three, as nice as they are. but -- >> reporter: why? >> well, we hate to waste money. we think -- >> reporter: it's not your money. >> yeah. >> reporter: it's not their money because they are on an all-expense paid tour for their new tlc show. they were up bright and early this morning to visit "good morning america." >> who wants to have another baby brother or sister? unanimous, all right. and raise your hand if you would like to live here in new york after you visited. shocking. >> reporter: and yet everywhere they go, in the urban jungle of manhattan, from the statue of liberty -- >> good to meet you. my wife kelly. >> reporter: to times square. >> biggest tvs i ever saw. >> reporter: to central park. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. >> reporter: there wasn't a jalded new yorker to be found in
the big, bad apple. those, they did get their share of double takes. >> oh, my gosh. how many kids do you have? >> ten girls and nine boys. >> wow. >> reporter: but for a family who dresses modestly and who goes swimming in genes or long dresses, the manhattan sun worshippers were shocking. what did you make of the male sunbathers? >> a few guys out there laying around in the park and they forgot most of their clothes. look kind of funny to me. >> reporter: did you notice the women? those five of the adult kids will be in college this fall, they all still live with mom and dad. in this five bedroom home outside knoxville, tennessee. with no internet surfing, no video games and no tv. ironic, since they now have their own tv show. but the bates say life hasn't changed all that much. >> i wouldn't say that. we're still just down home
country ten see yans that are just struggling like everybody to make family work. >> reporter: just like the rest of us. only bigger. much, much bigger. of course, you can get more of the bates family this friday at 9:00 on a special "20/20" "my extraordinary family." and just ahead for us, our own bill weir will be coming to us with the latest results from the london games, and we'll look at an underground craze for a different kind of shiny olympic medal.
i know what it's like to hire people and to make ends meet. from those experiences, i had the chance of running the olympics. the games were in real trouble. there been way too much spending. and in massachusetts i found a budget that was badly out of balance. our legislature was 85% democrat. and every one of the four years i was governor, we balanced the budget. i want to use those experiences to help americans have a better future. we believe in our future. we believe in ourselves. we believe the greatest days of america a are ahead. i'm mitt romney and i approve this message.
we're joined now by my colleague, "nightline" anchor bill weir who comes to us from london with the latest from the olympic games. hey, bill. another great day for team usa? >> reporter: juju, yes, another great day for team uncle sam here in the uk. both on the track and on sand. behind parliament, where misty may-treanor and kerri-walsh
jenks retire with a third straight volleyball gold. allyson felix, long jumper brittney reese all put on world-beating performances and a benchmark moment for woman's right, as sarah attar became the first woman ever to compete for saudi arabia in track and field. she was 45 seconds slower than the winner, but the crowd cheered every step. despite america's gold rush, team usa still in second spot behind china on the medal board, after day 12. but if they gave medals for the manic and enduring sub culture of olympic pin trading, oh, america would walk away with it, thanks to one man. our special olympic correspondent julie foudy found him and got a bit of schooling. >> take the same one right in there. >> no other american has brought home more metal from more olympics than don bigsby. >> 14 olympics and i can't stop. >> the undisputed king of the one olympic sport anyone can
qualify for. pin trading. how many pins do you have now? >> oh, over 100,000. >> don's been hooked since the 1980 winter games in lake placid. for three decades, he's presided over the olympin collector's club. those addicted flock to the summer and winter games by the thousands, to big tents like this. >> how many hours can you possibly go in a day? >> if my wife doesn't call me, i go until there's nobody that comes by anymore. i'm in heaven doing it. >> we decided to give don his toughest challenge yet. turn two former 0 limb peel yans into pin heads. meet summer sanders. four-time olympic medalist in swimming. we're going to have a competition, don. you are the judge. who has the best collection of pins? you get the cam. >> three, two, one -- go in there, girls! >> i'm in a contest against that girl in the pink over there. i'm trying to beat my friend
over there and get the best pins possible. >> summer is quick out of the gate. and imagines to land some great trades. >> you like that one? trade me that? let's do that. >> foudy, you better watch out. this is my first trade. i want you to know. what is your name? can we hug? i feel like this is a moment. thanks, bob. >> but i fear i'm beginning to stumble. no? rejected? >> thank you. >> okay, walk away. i got rejected. >> and then, i find out why. >> i hate to tell you, but you have a bunch of not great pins. >> then, i pull out my secret weapon. >> oh, now the good stuff comes out. now, that is more fair. >> behold! a rare olympic committee pin. suddenly, i'm back in the game. but summer's not far behind. >> look what i just scored! >> and when the dust settles,
don comes in to make his final decision. >> you got the madrid one? >> yes, she did. >> but even though summer is loaded up with more pins, don spots something that pushes me over the top. >> nbc pins are not allowed on abc "nightline," i have to say that julie won. she won. >> i won? and suddenly, i feel the thrill of victory pulsing through my veins. or maybe i just poked myself with one of those pins. whatever it is, i am on olympic pin champion! >> i knew you'd win. >> in london, i'm julie foudy for "nightline." >> congrats, jewels. still figuring out a way to compete at the olympics. more fun from london, same time, same place tomorrow. until then, juju, cheerio. >> thank you, bill. thank you for watching abc news. we hope you check in for "good morning america," and, of course, we're always online at